U18 Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Colchester United
Our U18 side start their PDL2 2018/19 campaign this Saturday against Colchester United, at the Cardiff International Sports Campus – 11am kick-off.
Craig Bellamy’s side will be looking to start their season with a win against the U’s, with our U18 side not losing an opening day fixture since the 2013/14 season.
Entry is free to the Cardiff International Sports Campus (CF11 8AZ), and the match will take place at the external grass pitch.
City have got an exceptional record against their counterparts, having not lost to Colchester United since 2015 and winning the previous five meetings between the two clubs. The best of those results came in the 2017/18 season, starting off with an emphatic 3-0 win at home in tricky conditions on October 21st, 2017. Colchester put up a battling performance, but the young Bluebirds dominance was shown throughout. Goals from Connor Davies, Sion Spence and Kieran Evans led Cardiff City to their third consecutive victory in the league.
Their other win against Colchester in the 2017/18 season was just as impressive, with the Bluebirds coming from behind at Colchester to seal a deserved 4-1 victory on January 7th, 2018. The hosts started the game stronger and were rewarded for this when Callum Jones put them a goal ahead early on. It wasn’t to be their day though, with goals from Trystan Jones, Sam Bowen, Adam Sharif and Sion Spence making sure City took all three points back to South Wales.
Know Your Opponent
Colchester United’s U18 side are currently led by Chris Llewellyn. He joined the club last July after the departure of previous Lead Coach David Wright, who is now U18 manager at Norwich City. Llewellyn has a plethora of experience, with a professional playing career spanning over thirteen years and previous experience managing Swansea City’s U23 side in 2014/15, before taking charge of their U18 side a year later.
The U’s finished ninth in the league last season on 22 points and lost seven league games in a row at the end of the season. Despite a tough time in the league, Llewellyn’s side performed admirably in the FA Youth Cup, making it to the quarter-finals of the competition. They beat Crewe Alexandra 2-0 in the third-round of the FA Youth Cup and replicated that result in the fourth-round against MK Dons a month later. It seemed that they went out of the competition after a 4-1 defeat to Reading in the fifth-round of the Youth Cup. Despite this, Reading fielded an ineligible player in their starting line-up, meaning a 3-0 victory was awarded to Colchester United. Llewellyn’s team ended up being knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage against eventual finalists Arsenal in a 5-1 defeat at home. Colchester were also Youth Alliance Cup winners in 2013/14, beating Bradford City’s U18s 4-2 at Valley Parade.
Ahead of the opening match of the 2018/19 season, we caught up with Academy Manager James McCarthy.
“The recruitment process has been good," McCarthy said about the U18 side. "We looked at various other alternatives and options before the end of the season, but we feel we have a good mix of first-years from both internal and external recruitment ahead of the season.
“All preparations are nearly finished, and it’s been a busy period across all age groups, but pre-season has very productive and effective this year, we’re ready for the new season now.”
Catch-Up: Highlights of the match will be available to subscribers of Cardiff City TV.
Social: Live Updates will come from via our official Academy Twitter account, @CF11Academy.